Ireland’s Own review of Play It Again Paddy

From the opening pages of this book one can tell that it was written by a musician who knows the music business from the inside. Fans just cannot truly appreciate what it’s like to set off in a wagon with five or six other musicians on a Sunday afternoon (sometimes earlier), travel for up to four hours, setup the gear, play for two to three hours and spend the next three of four hours travelling to arrive home in the early hours of the morning. Harry O’Reilly, who was lead guitarist with The Toppers and later The Chancellors has done this many times and he knows how to put it down on paper.

First impressions of this fine book are the impressive cover design and photography and the chunky feel and weight of it. You know that you have bought something worthwhile. Flicking through the pages you will see 100 + photographs, many of them previously unpublished. It’s divided into 43 concise and easy to read chapters with headings such as ‘The Early days in the ‘50s’, ‘The Advent of the showband era’, ‘Podger and the Toppers’, ‘From Toppers to Chancellors’ and ‘Dermot O’Brien and his bands’.

Each chapter is liberally illustrated and very well written. Unlike some self-published books, it clearly was proof-read. My one small reservation is that the 7 page index of names at the end of the book doesn’t include page references. This book will make an ideal gift for anyone who lived through the great showband era from 1957 to 1975.